The empire of the supermarket chain 'De Gruyter' in the town of 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands that at its peak had 525 stores and 17 food factories introduced in the fifties the Sweet of the Week: gadgets for the children of the customers. Farewell to a glorious era? No.
The Sweet of the Century is coming: The 'De Gruyter' Factory itself, a business complex that with 55.000 m² and 120 tenants already is the largest in the Netherlands. Between 2008 and 2012 the resort near the Brabanthallen will experience a major renovation. Final destination: a vibrant center that attracts innovative, creative and cultural entrepreneurs from around the country. It is expected that the number of 700 people who now work in the DGF, will grow to 1500.
In December 2008 Yvonne Tas beats in her new office on a wooden wall. Hollow. Curiously she drills a large hole. In the light of a torch she sees pipes, tubes and debris covered with spider webs. The proud discoverer of the Pneumatic Tube System of the 'De Gruyter' Factory:
I have brushed and brushed. But industrial heritage should be cherished!
Wim van Zoggel, who worked for 25 years at the Technical Department of the 'De Gruyter' Factory knew the system.
When in 1974 I switched working from factory I, to Factory II (the current DGF), the tubesystem was already out of use. But for many years it was the underground postal communication between the main office and warehouses 5 and 6, where the expedition department was stationed.
Girls in the office rang all day to 'De Gruyter' stores to take orders. These orders were shipped in carriers to the expedition department. Nice system, but they also used it for some practical jokes. Sometimes the expedition department returned a dead rat or mouse in the pneumatic tube carrier. For this reason, a bicycle lock was made on the pneumatice tube station in the expedition. Only the chief had the key.
Yvonne Tas of the Dutch company EvenementenTekening.nl is very glad with this discovered Pneumatic Tube System, a system build by the Lamson Engineering Co. Ltd.
It gives character to this area. Indeed, I have decorated my office with a 'Gispen'-desk and -chair and a gray cast floor. But one mystery remains unsolved. Near the Pneumatic Tube System we found 45 identical keys. Where were those for? Oh, there must always be something left over to guess.